The Buckman Direct Diversion (BDD) came online in 2011 and provides nearly half of our water supply. The BDD conveys surface water to Santa Fe from the Colorado River (also known as San Juan-Chama Project water), which flows into the Rio Grande via tunnels under the Continental Divide.
City of Santa Fe Water stores this water in the Heron, El Vado, and Abiquiu reservoirs for release as needed to flow downstream and into the Rio Grande, where it can be diverted at the BDD and treated for use. Santa Fe’s water availability from the San Juan-Chama Project is 5,230 acre-feet per year, dependent on water availability in the San Juan watershed.
The BDD provides the fourth source of water, allowing us to strategically prioritize the use of surface water when available to preserve groundwater for when it’s not. Switching to surface water as our primary source of supply, coupled with a steady reduction in demand due to conservation, has allowed our groundwater aquifers to recover from overuse and excessive pumping. The BDD provides a safe, reliable, and sustainable source of drinking water for the City of Santa Fe and is a key part of our efforts to ensure safe and reliable water supplies well into the future.
Click Here to visit the Buckman Direct Diversion Project website.
San Juan-Chama Project
The San Juan River Watershed is located in Southern Colorado and is part of the larger Colorado River Watershed. The San Juan-Chama Diversion Project (SCJP) diverts water from three headwater streams of the San Juan River in southern Colorado. This water flows through tunnels under the Continental Divide into the Chama River in New Mexico, where it is transported into Heron Reservoir. It is part of New Mexico’s 11 percent share of water from the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact. The SJCP was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1962 and is owned by the Bureau of Reclamation, with whom the City of Santa Fe has a permanent contract for 5,230 acre-feet per year.
Although climate change is expected to reduce streamflow and mountain snowpacks in the southwest, the Santa Fe region’s water supply from the San Juan-Chama Project via the Buckman Direct Diversion Project should be more reliable than the supply in most New Mexico rivers. This is due to the high elevation of the diversions from the San Juan River headwater streams, Heron Reservoir storage used to “firm” the annual San Juan-Chama Project deliveries to contractors, and the shortage sharing provisions of the federal authorizing legislation.
Click Here to learn more about the San Juan Chama Project.
During the severe drought experienced by Santa Fe from the late 1990s to 2002, the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County designed a sustainable water supply project to help protect our region from running out of water during a drought. Despite successful water conservation programs, the Santa Fe region did not have enough reliable and sustainable drinking water to meet our growing needs.
The City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County constructed the BDD to divert and treat San Juan-Chama water available from the Rio Grande that we already owned but could not access through groundwater pumping. The BDD Project created the infrastructure required to fully use the City’s and County’s permanent yearly supply of the San Juan-Chama Project water and access native Rio Grande water rights owned by the County and Las Campanas.
San Juan-Chama Project water is administered separately and distinctly from native Rio Grande water. The BDD is co-owned by the City, the Santa Fe County Water Utility, and the Club at Las Campanas, where untreated river water is used for golf course irrigation. Full supplies of San Juan-Chama water could be available in years when shortages of Rio Grande water might lead to curtailed diversions under native Rio Grande water rights.
The Buckman Direct Diversion Board (BDD Board) manages the water rights portfolios for the City, County, and the Las Campanas neighboring community that are diverted out of the Rio Grande. The BDD is managed under a Joint Powers of Agreement between the City and County of Santa Fe. The BDD Board is made up of eight members: 2 City of Santa Fe Councilors, 2 Santa Fe County Commissioners, an At Large Citizen member, and an Alternate Citizen member, plus two representatives from the Las Campanas Community.
Click Here to learn more about who is responsible for the BDD.
The Buckman Regional Water Treatment Plant (BRWTP) treats water from the BDD before it enters the Santa Fe distribution system. It uses state-of-the-art advanced water treatment processes to produce drinking water that meets or exceeds all federal and state drinking water standards.
Click Here to learn more about the Buckman Water Treatment Plant and its processes.
Click Here to visit the Buckman Direct Diversion website for reports, including BDD daily diversion meter reads, Rio Grande diversion reports, and water quality sampling reports.